USCIB Makes Interventions on Tech Policy Topics at OECD Digital Economy Meetings

The OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties held virtual meetings March 24 – April 15. Under the auspices of Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB members provided substantive interventions on topics already in the tech policy spotlight, as well as addressed issues likely to rise in importance as the digital economy continues to evolve.

According to USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner, USCIB/BIAC members provided important commentary aimed at shaping the work of a special governments-only drafting group, which has been focused on developing high-level guidance on government access to personal data held by the private sector.

“BIAC’s written statement highlighted that concerns of personal data losing protections when accessed by governments across borders have encouraged policy responses that can negatively impact economic activity,” said Wanner.

“[Such policies] threaten to slow down economic growth as we try to recover from the pandemic,” added Norman Barbosa of Microsoft, who intervened on behalf of BIAC.

In addition, members joined the U.S. government and others in urging a pause in the OECD’s efforts to develop a Voluntary Transparency Reporting Framework (VTRF) to facilitate more effective detection and mitigation of Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content (TVEC) online to build a robust evidence base on both the uptake and functionality of the baseline framework. USCIB members further distinguished the business community by developing practical guidance and shared procedural approaches to guide policymakers in implementing trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI) that embody the five values-based OECD AI Principles.

USCIB Leads in Preparations for Upcoming China Meetings at OECD

USCIB members and staff played leading roles in the April 23 China Expert Group’s preliminary meeting to preview and discuss Business at OECD (BIAC) presentations that will be made at the kick-off session of the OECD’s Informal Reflection Group on China in May. During the preliminary meeting, BIAC experts, including USCIB Senior Advisor Shaun Donnelly and Dell’s Eva Hampl (formerly USCIB and now a Vice Chair of BIAC’s China group), advanced key points that BIAC will emphasize including on state-owned enterprises (SOEs), investment, innovation and digitalization, and climate neutrality.

With regards to SOEs, Donnelly and others emphasized the importance of including provisions on SOEs in future investment and trade agreements, updating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on subsidies, drawing China into multilateral consensus on export and development finance, as well as engaging China to reduce excess capacity in steel and rejoin the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity. The investment dialogue between China and the OECD should also be intensified and made more substantive, rather than political, according to Donnelly. Updating the investment policy review of China is also critical since the last review was done in 2008.

On innovation and digitalization, Donnelly noted the need to review efforts to onshore production in the name of supply chain resiliency, to study global value chains to ensure that policies are driven by OECD-generated facts and not politics and protectionism, to foster cooperation on IT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) information-sharing and standards’ development, engaging China on implementation and dissemination of AI principles and policies, as well as monitoring and acting on China’s development of virtual currency along with its impact on major currencies.

“Engaging China on harmonizing carbon pricing and emission trading schemes, pushing China more toward sustainable investment policies at home and abroad (such as their Belt and Road projects use of fossil fuels) and continuing to press for mitigation and strong environmental commitments from China is key,” said Donnelly.

Donnelly also led a discussion urging BIAC, as a business forum, to press the OECD and its member governments for substantive reform and results in its engagement with China and to worry less about protocol and diplomatic formalities.

“It was great to have USCIB and American business actively involved in BIAC’s preparations for this important China strategy session at the OECD,” added Donnelly.  “With a new Secretary General coming to OECD in June, a new U.S. Administration looking to play a leadership role at the OECD, and steadily growing concerns around the world about some of China’s policies and practices, it’s vital that Business at OECD and its American members focus on these issues of how the OECD can play a useful role with China.”

Donnelly added: “Eva Hampl from Dell did a great job leading Friday’s discussion on the innovation and digitalization issues.  She and I look forward to our roles as BIAC lead speakers in the session with the OECD China group.  It was also great to see several USCIB members logging on for the BIAC discussion, confirming that China issues, broadly defined, remain important priorities for USCIB and its broad, cross-sectoral membership.”

If members have issues, questions or suggestions related to this BIAC and OECD effort on China, please contact Allice Slayton Clark (asclark@uscib.org).

USCIB Supports Candidacy of Doreen Bogdan-Martin for ITU Secretary General

Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Source: US Mission to Geneva

Washington, D.C., April 1, 2021 — The U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) expresses strong support for the candidacy of Doreen Bogdan-Martin to serve as the next Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 31, 2021:

“The pandemic-related challenges we all have grappled with for more than a year have highlighted the importance of ensuring global connectivity and access to telecommunications/ICTs to promote economic and societal benefits,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson.

“We salute the competence and spirit with which Doreen Bogdan-Martin has tackled these issues as Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau during an especially trying time for the global community. And as a longtime proponent of gender equality and initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide, she is, in our opinion, superbly qualified to lead the ITU into the future. We strongly endorse Ms. Bogdan-Martin’s candidacy for Secretary General.”

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development, and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Co-Hosts Seminar of Digital Issues in Brazil’s OECD Accession  

USCIB joined with the U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Brazil Business Council and Brazil’s National Industrial Confederation (CNI) to co-host an important seminar on Brazil’s accession to the OECD.

The seminar on March 18 on Digital Issues in Brazil’s OECD accession featured speakers from the Brazilian and U.S. governments, digital trade experts from the OECD Secretariat and the Business at OECD (BIAC) coalition, in which both CNI and USCIB are actively involved, as well as private sector representatives.

The virtual session, the second in an on-going series on various critical policy issues in Brazil’s OECD candidacy, drew over seventy-five participants from Brazil, the U.S., and beyond.

“We has an excellent introductory discussion of a wide range of digital issues, including privacy, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data localization, and intellectual property protections,” said USCIB Senior Advisor Shaun Donnelly, who co-chaired the session. “Clearly both the Brazilian government and our friends at CNI and across the Brazilian private sector are enthusiastic about the possibility of Brazil becoming a candidate to join the OECD. That OECD accession process is never an easy one; OECD standards are high. But because it is an important partner for the U.S. and for our member companies, we continue to play an active and constructive role in this process, both in various BIAC expert committees in Paris and in efforts like today’s seminar with our members and partners like CNI and the U.S. and Brazilian Governments.”

 

Digital Economy Architects to Keynote at Joint OECD, Business at OECD and USCIB Conference

New York, N.Y., March 16, 2021 — For the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to conduct our lives virtually and has, subsequently, highlighted the relevance of the OECD’s Internet Policy Principles (IPPs). These principles call for a global free flow of information and services, multistakeholder participation, and cooperation to ensure Internet security and privacy. With these issues in mind, USCIB joined with the OECD and Business at OECD (BIAC) to organize a Digital Economy Conference focusing on “A Decade of OECD Internet Principles: Policy-Making in a Data-Driven World.” Key experts, such as MIT’s Daniel Weitzner, Microsoft’s Julie Brill, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Christopher Hoff, Ambassador David Gross of Wiley, and Sharri Clark from the White House, as well as OECD’s Andrew Wyckoff, among others, will discuss the evolving digital ecosystem, Artificial Intelligence (AI), government access to data, and challenges to both business and policymakers.

“The IPPs, adopted in 2011, have underpinned the OECD’s evolving work on digital economy issues in the past decade,” said USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner. “These themes have also been echoed in recent digital economy work of the United Nations, the UN Internet Governance Forum, and other multilateral bodies.”

The May 25 virtual conference, officially the “Joseph H. Alhadeff Digital Economy Conference,” will consider how the IPPs have been reflected in some of the OECD’s ground-breaking digital work – such as development of the AI Principles. Industry experts will also consider how the Principles may be employed to address challenges posed by the rapid pace of digital innovation and related changes to the digital ecosystem.

Registration is now open for this conference. Please contact Erin Breitenbucher to register: ebreitenbucher@uscib.org.

Members of the press and media are also welcome to register and join.

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development, and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

Global Business Statement on Safeguarding International Data Flows

USCIB joined dozens of global associations in a letter to the EU expressing concern to ongoing developments in the European Union on international data flows. The letter notes that international data flows are an integral pillar of global trade, and any disruption to their free flow constitutes a major challenge to every economic sector.

“The recent developments in the European Union are creating deep uncertainty throughout the world, as the wide geographic variety of co-signatories to this statement demonstrates,” emphasized USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner.

In addition, the repercussions of an unduly restrictive approach to data flows, the letter notes it will also hit hard more traditional European industries, as the recent BusinessEurope-led coalition statement underlines.

“We underline the importance of providing certainty for all businesses and their data transfers to third countries,” the letter notes. “Any disruption must be avoided in order to minimise negative economic consequences, particularly in the wake of the global COVID-19 crisis and the economic recovery phase that we will enter in 2021. Crucially, our organizations believe that this can be achieved while respecting European data protection law, if a pragmatic and flexible approach prevails.”

USCIB Announces 2021 Priority Issues for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Washington D.C., January 5, 2020 — The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents many of America’s leading global companies, appreciates and welcomes the committed partnerships that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has established with the private sector to address the many economic, trade and regulatory opportunities available to foster greater integration between APEC’s twenty-one member economies. Each year, USCIB issues a statement outlining priorities and recommendations that USCIB and its members would like to see advanced in that particular APEC year; we are pleased to announce and make available our 2021 APEC Priority Issues and Recommendations paper:

USCIB commends the leadership of Malaysia in 2020, particularly under the challenging circumstances of adjusting to virtual meetings in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic. Our members see the New Zealand host year as an important opportunity to continue essential work in APEC working groups and to set topics for major outcomes and deliverables. USCIB members are eager to learn more about key initiatives for New Zealand during its host year and how business can help achieve these initiatives. Further, USCIB members are looking forward to Thailand’s host year in 2022. We stand ready to provide relevant inputs into the establishment of goals and objectives. The policy priorities of USCIB reflect our longstanding and overarching objectives of promoting open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development, and corporate responsibility. The priorities and recommendations detailed in this document are practical recommendations that can be taken to address some of the challenges for governments and businesses in the APEC region.

There remain ongoing global business concerns that the U.S. government and APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) members should consider as they identify priorities for the upcoming year. USCIB members have identified key issues that are detailed in this paper. We view this APEC Priority Issues and Recommendations policy paper as a “living document”, which is updated on an annual basis at the time of the CEO Summit, and as necessary following Senior Official Meetings throughout the year. The priorities in this statement are not exhaustive, in many cases they are “living issues”, and we will continue to work with our members on emerging and developing issues. We would be pleased to address any questions and discuss any of these recommendations in greater detail.

About USCIB:

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers, and Business at OECD (known as BIAC), USCIB helps to provide business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Addressing Tax Challenges Arising from Digitalization of the Economy: USCIB Submits Comments to OECD

Washington D.C., December 14, 2020 – The U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents many of America’s leading global companies, provided comments to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in response to the OECD’s Public Consultation Request to its Reports on the Pillar One and Pillar Two Blueprints, which would develop coherent rules to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy.

Among its recommendations, USCIB emphasized that the OECD rules should be developed with consideration of their potential impact on global growth and business investment decisions, and should be designed in a way to support the achievement of tax certainty for taxpayers and tax administrations and not be too complex or too onerous in compliance to discourage global investment. According to its comments, USCIB noted that the rules should also be based, to the maximum extent possible, on internationally accepted principles of taxation for coherency in their creation and consistency in their application.

For USCIB’s complete comments to the OECD, please click here.

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers, and Business at OECD (known as BIAC), USCIB helps to provide business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Members Address Network Security During Crises, Environmental Sustainability at IGF

The fifteenth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which was held in two phases November 2 -November 17, featured expert commentary from USCIB members that addressed two of the key thematic pillars of this year’s event – trust and improving the environment. Chris Boyer (AT&T) moderated a USCIB-organized workshop, in which Kathryn Condello (Lumen) highlighted how business and government closely collaborated from the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure secure, stable and reliable connectivity and, in so doing, create a framework for trust in the online environment.

In another USCIB-organized workshop, Matt Peterson (Amazon) and Caroline Louveaux (Mastercard) described their respective companies’ efforts to leverage technologies and their networks to address the planet’s environmental challenges through such initiatives as Amazon’s “Climate Pledge Fund” and Mastercard’s “Priceless Planet Coalition.”

According to USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner, both USCIB workshops attracted thirty-five to fifty virtual attendees from stakeholder groups throughout the world and garnered praise for the relevance and insightfulness of speakers’ comments in view of the still-rampant pandemic and challenges to the global environment.

Under the overarching theme ‘’Internet for human resilience and solidarity,” the annual IGF was hosted virtually by the United Nations given COVID-related travel restrictions. Given its virtual nature, the IGF Secretariat estimated that the event brought together more than five thousand leaders and ‎stakeholders of all sectors and all parts of the world, to discuss the impact of the Internet on ‎our lives within four key thematic tracks: (1) Data; (2) Environment; (3) Inclusion and (4) Trust.‎ As mentioned, USCIB members chose to showcase their corporate expertise under the trust and environment themes in two of the more than 200 IGF workshops.

Carol Doran Klein Retires, USCIB Welcomes Rick Minor as New Tax Lead

Carol Doran Klein
Carol Doran Klein

USCIB is pleased to announce that Richard Minor (who goes by Rick) has joined as its next International Tax Counsel upon Carol Doran Klein’s retirement.

“Carol has contributed immeasurably to the strengthening of the USCIB tax practice and we are grateful for her professional contributions and personal friendship over the last ten years,” said Peter Robinson, USCIB’s president and CEO. He added, “While we are saddened to see Carol go, Rick is a worthy successor and an excellent addition to the USCIB team. He brings a wealth of technical knowledge on international tax matters, experience in OECD tax policy and process, and a robust foreign government and European Commission network. I’m confident his expertise and international perspective will serve USCIB members well.”

Rick Minor
Rick Minor

Minor has deep experience in both the private and public sectors, having held senior tax roles with three large companies in Europe, in addition to serving as a Digital Policy Advisor to the Government of Luxembourg on a broad range of cross-border business issues with particular regard to EU data privacy, VAT and digital tax policy. His corporate background included positions as Vice President, Group Tax Counsel and Government Affairs for AOL Europe; Head of Tax, EMEA for ArcelorMittal; and Director of Tax, EMEA for Honeywell Europe. Minor also served as Director of International Cooperation and Business Investment for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, working to attract U.S. and foreign corporate investment to North Carolina. Minor got his bachelors at Duke University, his law degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and his LL.M. in tax at Georgetown. He began his career as an attorney specializing in international tax planning with global law firms in DC, Munich and London. Doran Klein and Minor served together on the OECD Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for VAT.

Minor assumes management of the USCIB Committee on Taxation, which promotes sound, appropriate and consistent international tax policy in the U.S. and overseas, including minimizing double taxation. The committee is chaired by Bill Sample, tax policy advisor at Microsoft Corporation, and encompasses leading tax professionals from USCIB member companies and organizations. The committee is especially active on OECD matters, in view of USCIB’s role as the American affiliate of Business at OECD (BIAC), and organizes a yearly conference bringing together USCIB members with top tax officials from the OECD and member governments.